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HomeCanadaPorch arson was hate-motivated, home targeted many times before: London police

Porch arson was hate-motivated, home targeted many times before: London police

Police believe a fire on the front porch of a home in London, Ont., over the weekend was motivated by hate and is the latest in a series of escalating incidents targeting the home.

Police say a man arrived at the home on Wateroak Drive on foot around 9:30 pm on Saturday and left “with some items he took from the front yard”. About an hour later, police believe the same man returned and set a fire on the porch before leaving.

Emergency services arrived about 10 minutes later to extinguish the fire. No injuries were reported but damage is estimated at $30,000.

The house, located in an affluent area of ​​north-west London, has been the subject of “a number of other incidents” since early May, according to Detective Inspector Alex Krygsman.

The events involved “damage to property, theft of signs, a threatening note that was left, prior to the events of the night (Saturday). The posters expressed support for Palestine,” Krygsman added.

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Nawaz Tahir, a local lawyer and board member of the Muslim advocacy group Hikma, said Our Family London posters were also removed. The Our Family of London movement was created in support of the Afzaal family and the Muslim community in London in the wake of the June 2021 terrorist attack in which a young man intentionally ran over a family in his truck, seriously injuring a young child and killed his parents. sister and grandmother.

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Tahir also suggested that the family was “warned not to put up any more (signs).”

Hikma said he has been in contact with residents of the Wateroak Drive address. Tahir said Monday that Hikma members are “quite concerned about his safety and the safety of his neighborhood.”

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However, Tahir expressed his gratitude to the police for taking this “so seriously.”

A surveillance photo of a man wearing a mask and dark-colored clothing.

London police have released a photograph of a suspect wanted in connection with an investigation into a hate-motivated arson attack.

via London Police Service

Police released a photo of the arson suspect and describe him as a man between 30 and 50 years old, of medium to heavy build, wearing gray shoes, dark pants and a light gray zip-up sweater with black vertical details on the sides. . Under his arms, a dark-colored hat and a medical mask.

“I want to express very clearly that this is a huge priority for the London Police Service. We have members of our uniformed division, criminal investigation division (and) community services unit involved in the response to this and the investigation,” Krygsman said Sunday.

“I can also tell you that our chief has been fully engaged with the mayor and city council members since early this morning.”

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Krygsman also expressed his gratitude to several neighbors “who came to the aid of the homeowners,” as well as “the members of this community who truly supported the London Police Service during this investigation.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted about the incident, stating that his heart goes out to the family and that “Canadians have seen how dangerous and ugly Islamophobia is. We have to continue to face it, wherever and whenever we see it.”

Neither the police nor Tahir have confirmed that the family involved is Muslim, only that they have expressed their support for Our Family of London and Palestine through their lawn signs.

Hate crimes have been increasing in London, according to data released by police last month. Crimes motivated by hate or bias increased almost 40 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year, police said.

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More than one in four hate crimes reported in 2023 were against members of the LGBTQ2 community, although London’s Muslim and Jewish communities saw sharp increases in reported events.

In both cases, the number of reported incidents increased dramatically following the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023.

– with files from Ben Harrietha of Global News

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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